Saturday, November 12, 2011

Loving Toward All He Has Made

I ducked my head and crept to the back of the long canoe. It dipped to one side and I squealed like a little girl. Steadied now, I scurried to the back bench and took a seat next to our videographer. I exhaled in relief and opened wide eyes to take in the scene around me. The river was bordered by banks of smooth, round stones and it flowed quietly. River banks were hugged by thick belts of greenest trees. Monkeys, snakes and birds hid beneath a million leafy umbrellas that formed the tree canopy. We were in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador.

The canoe carried us downstream toward our destination. The majesty of God´s creation stole my words. The One who can read my mind and heart heard my joyful song. My God, you brought me to this place I have longed to see since I was so very young. I never even asked for this. I never dreamed it was possible. You are so good. Thank you.

I had prayed before my trip that God would open my eyes to His goodness. I knew what the enemy would whisper to me when I saw the poverty and misery. He would tell me that my Father is unjust, that my Father is not good. This I know: this world is broken by our sin and my merciful Father sacrificed His only Son to redeem it. Psalm 145:13 says "The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made."

I saw God's goodness on Wednesday morning when we had breakfast with two
Leadership Development Program (LDP) students. Evelyn was sponsored into the Compassion program at age four. She grew up dreaming the dreams that kids dream - bold, daring dreams that poverty can rub smooth and small like rocks in a river. Dreams of high school, university, and a professional future can be squelched way too soon by the heavy gates of poverty.

Evelyn's sponsor wrote to her often, encouraging her to work hard, offering confidence in her abilities. Compassion workers invested deeply in her life. She performed well in school. Dreams in her heart - hopes that she may never have dared voice - came into focus. After graduating from the Child Sponsorship Program, she applied to be part of Compassion's Leadership Development Program, which allows students to receive a university education and Christian leadership training. Obstacles arose, but God moved them out of the way and Evelyn was accepted into the program.

Evelyn stood before us, a gracious, confident, wise, godly young woman, and shared her testimony. God had given her oppotunities beyond her imagination. He had used two women in Australia to help pry open the gates of poverty and release her into a fruitful future. Evelyn is now in her last 6 months of law school. Her goal is to be part of the United Nations one day. I'd love for you to meet her.




You can be a gate opener for a child in poverty.





27 comments:

Holly said...

Do you know? I expressly prayed today for God to fill up your eyes with His wonders? He is SO good. Love you! Praying for you, too, Amanda.

Christine said...

I've read here all week. Your words are beautiful! Thank you for answering the call and going on this trip. So many have been blessed!

Taylor said...

Amanda,

I am so thankful that you went on this trip! Thank you for giving me a glimpse into the lives of these precious people, and showing me a glimpse of our wonderful God who loves *all.*

Grateful,
Taylor

Tara G. said...

That the enemy would attempt to convince us that God is unjust is exactly what a missionary here said in our church last Sunday. He had visited an orphanage in Eastern Ukraine (15+ years ago) and said it simply rocked his world. (In fact, the area where the orphanage was located was called by locals "the place God forgot"). He has lived here ever since and has done amazing things with orphans, showing many that God has not forgotten one. Continued prayers for you, the team, and your families. :)

the4leegirls said...

"The majesty of God's creation stole my words."
My favorite thing you have ever written....
Praying,
Allison

Jenn said...

Amanda,

Thank you for sharing your trip with us and blessing us, those children, families and Compassion staff. I know you have been blessed and I want to say thank you for taking that step of faith and going on this trip. God is so good and He knows the desires of our hearts before we do!

Jenn said...

Amanda,

Thank you for taking us on your journey! God is so good, He knows the desires of our hearts even before we do! Praising Him with you.
What an impact you've had on those children, families and Compassion staff. Thank you!

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

Beautiful post! Prayers continue for all of you.

Jill Foley said...

As much as I LOVE child sponsorship, the LDP program is really the gem of what Compassion is doing. I correspond with an LDP student in Peru who I met last year and he is an amazing servant leader. I also befriended a former LDP student who was living here in Portland and has now returned (as a missionary) to Uganda - what an amazing servant leader. And now we have begun sponsoring a young lady in Honduras who has just started LDP. I can't wait to see what God has in store for her!

beckyjomama said...

Just beautiful! He is shining through your words and your actions this week - SO proud of you for letting Him lead you through the Amazon jungle and beyond ... He is BEAUTIFUL through you!

psm260 said...

Amanda,

Thank you for going on this trip. I have loved following it, and I feel changed. As a result of the first visit to the Compassion Center, I have sponsored Evelin. Can't wait to follow her life!

Pam
Clearwater, Florida

Kristin said...

Amanda,
Thanks for sharing your journey and the story of these beautiful children in Equador! I will continue to pray for all of you and those you love back home.
-Kristin Medcalf

happymcfamily said...

love.

melissa mitcham said...

when i read your words, it makes my heart so tender that i cry every time. thank you for sharing YOUR heart.

Amy said...

I'm a new reader of your blog (found you via this Compassion trip!), and I am so thankful that you are recording these things. I've seen information about sponsoring children and have prayed over it, and I found myself wondering what happened to these children in farflung parts of the world. It is so heartening to see what a blessing this ministry has been through Evelyn's story and all of the stories of these children!

Bev Brandon @ The Fray said...

I named my oldest child after two missionary friends of mine in Ecuador who gave their very lives for the sake of the Gospel to travel downstream on that amazing Amazon. May the Holy Spirit winds that whip blow over your own soul as you leave His Fragrance, His Footprints. May you leave as Mrs. Hopeful filled with His Wonder.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

This Amanda...

"I had prayed before my trip that God would open my eyes to His goodness. I knew what the enemy would whisper to me when I saw the poverty and misery. He would tell me that my Father is unjust, that my Father is not good. This I know: this world is broken by our sin and my merciful Father sacrificed His only Son to redeem it. Psalm 145:13 says "The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made."

I never want to forget your testimony in this...

Our Father is good.

You write deep truth here, Amanda and I nod hard and whisper thank you, thank you ---*thank you*

Nicole said...

I want to thank you for sharing your trip. On the way home from church today the kids and I were talking about Samaratin's purse shoe boxes. My middle girl asked how it was possible for people here to know exactly what it is people need 'out there.' I shared your story of preparing the backpack for your sponsored child, how God led you to your choices. Our hearts and prayers are with you and we eagerly learn what God is placing on your heart to share.

MN 2 Hollywood said...

I followed a Tweet from Compassion International and found your blog. Thank you for doing what you do! Congratulations on finding God's beauty all around!

If you'd be so kind, would you mention my new movie project to your followers? I just wrote a blog entry about it: mn2la.blogspot.com. It's a Christian themed romantic dramedy. More info at: away.kenzieprod.com.

Thank you for your support. May God continue to bless you abundantly!

- Justen

L.A. Krueger said...

I offer my thanks to God for you, Amanda. You speak well to the truth that our Lord is good and He does good. (Ps. 119:68) Yes. His love is lavish and it is lavishly displayed.

My prayer to our Lord for you is that you will be graced to ponder, in quietude, the many things that He spoke to your heart while you were in Ecuador. That you will be granted the expanse of time to let the many riches of this trip find a home in you and then, ultimately, in your living before Him in service to others.

Lisa said...

Amanda,
I love reading about this trip. It can nearly bowl us over when God is so kind as to let us experience things on His earth that we never dreamed of asking Him for.
Praise Him for the example you're showing to your own sweet babies, how to love others the way He loves us. Praying for you--
Lisa

Cindy Childers said...

Loving all your posts and praying for you. I check daily to check in on you and your team. Keep them coming, they are treasures! Cindy

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Isn't it amazing how He works?! He's making her dreams come true and He also used the same program to make a little girl in America's dream come true, too:) Even though, you are very privileged compared to the Compassion kids, I couldn't help but notice He still cared enough to let you see a place you never dared ask Him to take you, too. He did anyway! I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I think you can see where my heart was going as I read that?

mommysince02 said...

So glad to read up on your journey and laughed so hard at Boomomma = Fried Chicken! I am ALL FOR sponsoring... pray my man gets in agreement? This is a tough one. For now, praying for a huge response and with great joy for all God is doing through this ministry.

annalee said...

Thank you for going on this trip and sharing your experiences with Compassion and the lives it touches. I loved reading the stories in your own words. We sponsored our first child while reading about your trip. She was the first face to show up when we searched for a child, she is exactly six months older than adelaide, and we share a nickname. I love the details God already knew about her and our match. Thanks again for being the hands and feet of Christ! love your heart.

Erin said...

Have LOVED following your trip through the Compassion bloggers! Thank you!

Kelly said...

The truth you're speaking through this trip is shining light on the enemy's lies. "I knew what the enemy would whisper to me ... He would tell me that my Father is unjust, that my Father is not good. This I know: this world is broken by our sin and my merciful Father sacrificed His only Son to redeem it. Psalm 145:13 says "The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made."" This has been rattling around my head since you posted it, and I think the power in it comes from illuminating exactly what the enemy is so quietly whispering to us - exposing him for the fraud he is. And lifting up our Father, whose goodness is unequaled! THANK YOU!!!